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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Regina

Queen Victoria's Journal - The confirmation of Princess Victoria, 20th March 1856

Updated: Mar 26

On the 20th March 1856, The confirmation of Victoria, Princess Royal, eldest child of Queen Victoria, took place in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle.

The Confirmation of the Princess Royal, by Louis Haghe dated 20 March 1856 © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III 2024

"A dull morning, early. - Our thoughts much occupied with today's ceremony! Vicky wished me good morning & stayed with me whilst I was dressing & then breakfasted in her own room. - Before our large breakfast, the 7 other children hunted for Easter eggs, it being Maundy Thursday. We took a short walk afterwards, with Mary & the Princes. At a little before 12 we & all the Family, as well as the 6 Children, assembled in Uncle Leopold's room. Dear Vicky looked very pretty in a high, morning dress, in white glacé silk. We Ladies, all, wore smart morning dresses, & the Gentlemen frock coats. Punctually at 12, we proceeded to the Chapel, Albert, leading Vicky, going in 1st, & I following with dear Uncle Leopold. Vicky stood just in front of the altar, with a chair placed behind her, we & the 5 other Children in, a line, to her left, - Uncle & Mama (the 2 Sponsors) & all the other Royalties, in a line, on her right. The service began & ended with 2 fine old German Chorales, beautifully sung by the St. George's Choir. The Bishop of Oxford read the Preface & the Archbishop of Canterbury administered the Holy Rite. Dear Vicky behaved beautifully & was very calm & collected. It was a very touching ceremony, particularly so in her case, for those who knew she was already an affianced Bride. She made her answer to the Archbishop, "I do", in an audible & firm voice. Everything was very touching, solemn & impressive, excepting the poor Archbishop's Address, which was more like a sermon, without a single allusion to the act of Confirmation, its meaning & importance, or giving Vicky one word of advice, which is generally done. However in spite of the poor Archbishop, everyone was deeply impressed & we prayed, & ever shall, for God's blessing on this precious Child! He will surely bless & guard her & let His Holy Angels watch over her now, as they did around her cradle! - The poor Dean was so agitated, that he could hardly give out the Psalms. [...]

Victoria, the Princess Royal in her confirmation dress. William Bembridge (20th March 1856) © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III 2024

The Choir were in the Pew, above, where the Children generally sit, & the Upper Servants in our Pew. At the conclusion of the service, we went into the Green Drawingroom, where we embraced dear Vicky, who was a little "émne". Everyone was very kind & full of affection & good wishes for our dear Child. It made it such a nice homely gathering, having so many of our relations present, including the sons of my Brother & Sister. Sir George Grey, (amongst those invited) had tears in his eyes, when speaking of the ceremony, & wished dear Vicky every possible happiness. Ly Lyttelton seemed so much pleased & touched. Before leaving the Green Drawing room, we took leave of the Company & then went to Uncle's room, where dear Vicky received her presents: from Mama, a beautiful diamond spray, - from us a magnificent necklace of diamond "Chatons" 2 solitaire diamond earrings, a beautiful Cameo, of our profiles (taken from the Exhibition medal in 1851) cut in Cornelian, handsomely set round with diamonds, attached to a white moirée silk bow, to be worn as an order on her left shoulder, & a fine Indian shawl & on Indian scarf. All her brothers & sisters gave her something, having saved up their money for the purpose. Aunt Gloucester, who was much grieved at not being able to be present, sent a beautiful gold & diamond bracelet -

Victoria, the Princess Royal in her confirmation dress. William Bembridge (20th March 1856) © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III 2024

At about ½ p. 1, we sat down to luncheon, after which we took leave of all ours visitors, excepting Ernest L. - At ½ p. 4 we drove out with Vicky. - A letter from Ld Clarendon, saying that Count Cavour was not pleased at the Emperor's tone with regard to Italy, but that he hoped it would be possible to do something. - Rested, being a good deal exhausted, & having a headache. - Later, we saw the good Dean, who was as distressed as we were, about the poor Archbishop's performance.

We talked with him about the sad poverty, deficiency & superficiality of religious education in this country, which led to so many people going over to Romanism; he said he felt sure this must be altered. We gave him, as a remembrance, a piece of plate for his dinner table, & Vicky came in, & gave him a Bible, into which she had written. We thanked him for all kindness & for all he had done for Vicky. He has naturally now finished giving her instruction. - Mama, &c - & the Van de Weyers (who stay till Saturday, dined. Dear kind Uncle, who is so cheerful & well, sat next to me. - We shall ever look back with pleasure to this very eventful & important day in the life of our beloved Child, & indeed in our lives! May God's blessing rest upon her for ever!"

© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2012

© Bodleian Libraries © ProQuest

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